Xstrata wins Moolarben case

FIVE million tonnes of coal could be sterilised from Felix Resources’ Moolarben project after the New South Wales Court of Appeal on Friday ruled in favour of Ulan Coal Mines, majority held by Xstrata, over validity of mining leases.
Xstrata wins Moolarben case Xstrata wins Moolarben case Xstrata wins Moolarben case Xstrata wins Moolarben case Xstrata wins Moolarben case

The proposed Moolarben project area. Photo courtesy Felix Resources.

Angie Tomlinson

The court upheld an appeal by Ulan against the failed challenge in the NSW Supreme Court of the validity of mining leases 1605 and 1606 granted by the NSW minister for mineral resources in December 2007 of Stage 1 of the Moolarben coal mine project.

No orders have been made by the court, meaning no immediate consequences from the judgement.

After emerging from a trading halt this morning, Felix said it believed the leases remain valid until a contrary order is made by the court.

The court has invited the parties to make submissions on the appropriate orders to be made over the next 21 days.

Felix said if an order is handed down for the mining lease to protect Ulan’s “valuable and substantial works or structures”, which Felix labelled as “some old cattle fences and a small number of stock dams”, it estimated it would lose 5Mt of coal.

Lease 1606 holds about 48Mt of opencut measured resources.

Felix said no underground resources in lease 1605 would be sterilised.

It added that the surface facilities it planned to construct and operate for the mine would require minor adjustments; however, this would not impact costs but may require minor planning approval.

Felix said should the leases be adjusted there may be cuts to the compensable loss of $580,223 determined by the Mining Warden and already paid to Ulan by Felix.

Felix said no construction work would take place at Moolarben until formal orders had been made by the court.

Felix said it had also commenced discussions with the NSW Government to determine the appropriate course of action to realise the benefits the project would bring to the state.

Felix was trading down 8.29% mid-morning at $17.81.